Introduction to Career Skills
This section of Mind Tools looks at tools and approaches you can use to manage your career successfully. It starts with five articles which help you think about career direction. These tools help you uncover what you do best and identify the types of work that you’ll enjoy doing most. From this, you can figure out how to make the most of your skills and preferences, whether in your current role or in a new one. Amongst these, our article on Personal SWOT Analysis shows you how you can apply the wellknown SWOT strategy tool to your life and career, helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities open to you and the threats you face. This leads naturally into the idea of job crafting. This is something that many of us do subconsciously to some extent, but our article gives you a rigorous approach that you can use to craft your ideal job. Our next group of articles help you to develop your career in various ways. We show you what you can be doing now to future proof your careerand to get ready for promotion. And if you’re frustrated because your hard work and abilities are going unnoticed, find out how to get the recognition you deserve. Of course, despite your best efforts and preparation, careers don’t always go to plan, especially in a volatile economic climate. So we show you how to live with a lack of job security and how to cope with life after job loss. Yet even when the economy’s booming, you can still face challenging career situations such as hitting a “glass ceiling”. Find out what you can do to break through these! We round off this section with two articles that will help you transition through significant events in your career. First, we look at what you can do when you get a new boss, and then we see how to wrap up in one role before moving on.
Personal SWOT Analysis :Making the Most of Your Talents and Opportunities.
"Chance – Louis Pasteur
You are most likely to succeed in life if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you'll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are, and if you manage these weaknesses so that they don't matter in the work you do.
So how you go about identifying these strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them? SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps you do this. What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward. If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career.
How to Use the Tool
To perform a personal SWOT analysis, print out our free worksheet, and write down answers to the questions in each area below.
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What advantages do you have that others don't have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)? What do you do better than anyone else? What personal resources can you access? What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths? Which of your achievements are you most proud of? What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit? Are you part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do you have with influential people?
Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don't be modest or shy – be as objective as you can. And if you have any difficulty with this, write down a list of your personal characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths! You can also learn more about identifying your strengths in our article on "Your Reflected Best Self™".
Tip: Think about your strengths in relation to the people around you. For example, if you're a great mathematician and the people around you are also great at math, then this is not likely to be a strength in your current role – it may be a necessity.
• • • •
What tasks do you usually avoid because you don't feel confident doing them? What will the people around you see as your weaknesses? Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest? What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress? Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.
Again, consider this from a personal/internal perspective and an external perspective. Do other people see weaknesses that you don't see? Do coworkers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it's best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
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What new technology can help you? Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet? Is your industry growing? If so, how can you take advantage of the current market? Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice? What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them? Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes? Is there a need in your company or industry that no one is filling? Do your customers or vendors complain about something in your company? If so, could you create an opportunity by offering a solution?
You might find useful opportunities in the following:
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Networking events, educational classes, or conferences. A colleague going on an extended leave. Could you take on some of this person's projects to gain experience? A new role or project that forces you to learn new skills, like public speaking or international relations. A company expansion or acquisition. Do you have specific skills (like a second language) that could help with the process?
Also, importantly, look at your strengths, and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities – and look at your weaknesses, and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating those weaknesses.
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What obstacles do you currently face at work? Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles? Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing? Does changing technology threaten your position? Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?
Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and put problems into perspective.
A Personal SWOT Example
What would a personal SWOT assessment look like? Review this SWOT analysis for Carol, an advertising manager.
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I'm very creative. I often impressing clients with a new perspective on their brands. I communicate well with my clients and team. I have the ability to ask key questions to find just the right marketing angle. I'm completely committed to the success of a client's brand.
• • •
I have a strong, compulsive need to do things quickly and remove them from my "to do" list, and sometimes the quality of my work suffers as a result. This same need to get things done also causes me stress when I have too many tasks. I get nervous when presenting ideas to clients, and this fear of public speaking often takes the passion out of my presentations.
• • •
One of our major competitors has developed a reputation for treating their smaller clients poorly. I'm attending a major marketing conference next month. This will allow for strategic networking, and also offer some great training seminars. Our art director will go on maternity leave soon. Covering her duties while she's away would be a great career development opportunity for me.
• • •
Simon, one of my colleagues, is a much stronger speaker than I am, and he's competing with me for the art director position. Due to recent staff shortages, I'm often overworked, and this negatively impacts my creativity. The current economic climate has resulted in slow growth for the marketing industry. Many firms have laid off staff members, and our company is considering further cutbacks.
As a result of performing this analysis, Carol takes the bold step of approaching her colleague Simon about the art director's maternity leave. Carol proposes that both she and Simon cover the job's duties, working together and each using his or her strengths. To her surprise, Simon likes the idea. He knows he presents very well, but he admits that he's usually impressed by Carol's creative ideas, which he feels are far better than most of his. By working as a team, they have a chance to make their smaller clients feel even better about the service they're getting. This takes advantage of their competitor's weakness in this area.
A SWOT matrix is a framework for analyzing your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats that you face. This helps you focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
Finding Career Direction
Discover Yourself and Your Purpose
How long has it been since you asked yourself what you want to be when you grow up? If you haven't considered the idea since high school, then you may have settled into a job that is not fulfilling your professional aspirations, or your purpose. Each of us has particular talents that, when expressed or exercised, make the world a better place. Most likely you enjoy doing these things, and you find that people respond well to you when you do them. Perhaps they're things you gravitate towards during out-of-hours activities, and that people respect you for. When you develop these talents as far as you can, you can make your greatest possible contribution to the world, and enjoy personal and professional satisfaction that goes along with this.
that is finding career direction. and stresses of everyday life. How Do I Get Hired?
1. and secondly using psychometric tests to explore your preferences. this journey never really ends because work itself is all about change. passionate and enthusiastic? When have you been most creative? When have you been most sure of yourself and your decisions? What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? When have other people considered you to be most successful? When have you enjoyed your work most? What talents were you relying on. This approach consists of sequentially answering three questions:
1. consider your answers to the following questions:
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When have you been most committed. and using. In fact. and reinvention. What Do I Want to Do? 3. By taking a talent-based approach to your career search right from the start.6
Your Career Direction Journey
The process of uncovering what you are meant to do. in these situations? For what would you take a very strong stand?
. Once unmasked. defenses. your journey continues with specific career exploration and identification of a career that allows you to make good use of your talents. you keep yourself heading toward the right career even when the actual direction shifts over time. It starts with discovering the essential "you": the person who truly resides behind the facades.firstly asking you to explore your talents.
Exploring Your Talents
First of all. growth. in which you identify the jobs you want and put yourself in the best possible position to get them. Discovering Who You Really Are
The first question to answer is "Who am I?" We'll take two approaches to answering this . is a journey. And it moves on with a focused job or career move. development. Who Am I? 2.
There are many typologies available including Myers-Briggs. and avoid the things that
. it does help you discover what motivates and energizes you. what would you be doing?
Brainstorm each of these questions. Tip 3: Treat these tests as advisory only . You also discover potential points of friction with people of other personality types. you'll probably find the tests quite insightful! With personality testing you learn what you have in common with other people. it is probably worth investing in them if you haven't already done so. Tip 1: Some of these cost quite a lot of money. and as you identify possible careers. Tip 2: It can be hard initially to see how to apply these tests. we'll look at using personality inventories as a way of looking at your preferred way of working relative to other people. think about what personality type is most likely to be successful in these careers.you can't capture the whole complexity of your personality and experience with only a few questions.7
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What about the world puzzles or disturbs you that you could make an impact on? What jobs do you like to do at work when you have a choice? What activities are you drawn towards out of work? If money were no concern. DISC (Dominance. Rank these in order.
Next. That said. Influence. Tip: If you're having problems choosing. Steadiness and Conscientiousness) and the strength finder evaluation in "Now Discover Your Strengths". however considering the importance of what you're doing. One trick is to turn things around. Is there a match or a mismatch? We'll do this later. While no personality type is good or bad. and then use your answers to identify the top three talents that you most use when you're successful. This in turn empowers you to seek those elements in the work you choose to do. use a technique like paired comparison analysis to rank things in order.
be careful not just to look back nostalgically at simple jobs where you performed well . The type of activity the psychometrics you've completed guide you towards. your beliefs. The talents you achieve most with. You can take this self-awareness one step further by examining why you make the choices you do. Focus instead on more difficult areas where you made a positive difference. Finding Out What You Want to Do
Now that you know who you are. and this gives you little information. then you'll struggle constantly and be under a great deal of stress and pressure. and where others didn't.
. For your life to be balanced and fulfilled. your career must be aligned with who you are: Otherwise you'll be unhappy with work. the next stage is to think about what you want to do.8
Write a "Who I Am" Statement
Now draw this together into a simple written statement of who you are.
Tip: When you're doing this. and you'll probably underachieve. many different people could perform well in these situations. This is an important step toward self-discovery and defining your purpose. You then need to spend some time researching the top careers you've identified. and your way of seeing the world. The starting point is to do some brainstorming on the jobs that you think would suit who you are. After all. and then extend this list with some more brainstorming. what is your payoff for making the choices you make? When you know the "why" it is easier to see how you can become fulfilled through the work you do.after all. In psychological terms. If you try to pursue a career path that is at odds with your values. You choose to react one way over another.
As you explore your personality you come to realize that who you are is really determined by the choices you make. ill-fitting jobs demand different talents from the ones that you have. The activities you get most satisfaction from. or to prefer one thing to another.
2. We'll then confirm this with some different psychometric tests. Use it to answer the following questions:
• • • •
What your talents and strengths are.
com http://www. but limited career selection advice: Princeton Review Career Quiz Chargeable (but inexpensive. do some brainstorming to see if there are new technology careers which demand similar personality types. Thinking Further
The unavoidable flaw with these career tests is that they're based on backward-looking data. or whether similar roles in other organizations might be more rewarding. Using Career Tests
The next stage is to use online career tests to explore options that you might have missed. or if there are more obscure careers that may also be open. Useful ones are: Free. and can only cope with the major career types. start thinking about all of the jobs you can see that would suit you someone with the talents and interests in that statement (by depersonalizing it in this way. Because of this. if you're profoundly unhappy with your company. Using the test results as a starting point. if there are other roles within your existing company that would be worth trying.) So start by asking yourself if your current role can be adapted to suit you much better..self-directed-search. nor do they know about less well-known careers. and with good selections of possible careers): http://www. On the other hand.assessment. who may be much younger than you. they can't recommend new careers.. it puts you in the position of competing equally with other career starters.
. extend out and brainstorm the other options available.9 i.") Starting here is particularly important if you're already established in a career: It's important to capitalize where you can on the experience and contacts you've already built up.
iii. Exploring the Options You Know About
Starting with your "Who I Am" statement. compared with ditching everything and starting completely afresh (while this sounds glamorous and enticing. Once you've done this. a radical career change may be the best thing. you help to avoid "being too close to the issue. industry and profession.
if you're having trouble prioritizing. Working part time and/or seasonally in the industry. and keep an eye on how companies are talked about in the press. Understanding what talents and personalities make people successful in the career. this is quite tedious. Visiting company websites. qualifications needed. Yes. Attending professional and trade shows. Also.10 iv. some of them may turn out to be quite bad!) Again. job availability. But think about the consequences of getting things wrong! Surely it's worth spending time exploring your options. and perhaps to move. Reading industry/career magazines and get a sense of how "happy" the industry is. Now's the time to cut these down and prioritize them. and deciding if you're prepared to travel to interviews. and what the issues and problems within it are. so that you can understand industry trends.org. Conducting your own PEST Analysis to confirm your own view of likely career trends. but it is necessary in order to eliminate choices that seem to be great fits on the surface but really won't align with your mission and purpose. We're not asking you to choose one now. you now need to research the various options you have to make money doing so. Perform Career Research
Armed with a solid understanding of how you can participate in fulfilling work.
You'll now have identifies a wide range of possible careers open to you. etc. who the major players in it are. and mapping these back against your own talents and personality. job pay levels.
• • • • • • •
. Participating in job fairs. Pulling This Together. Volunteering. Understanding where organizations are based. use paired comparison analysis to rank your choices. but to cut down to your top 5 or 6 choices (the reason being that when you start researching these careers.
v. looking at job vacancies to see if the career is in demand. rather than a lifetime kicking yourself for making a bad choice! Methods for researching careers include:
Researching the career using sites like Acinet. Career research is not something many people relish.
What qualifications should you get? What experience should you build? Which organization will give you the best start? For each of these steps create a detailed implementation plan. faster. This is a mistake because unless you have a plan.
3. you may have rejected several possible careers. it is far too easy to get derailed by a lucrative job offer. now you need to actually map your progress. a job that sounds really glamorous. Develop your plan first and you're more likely to get where you want to go. in order to get there. Paired Comparison Analysis may be useful here.
Start by writing down the career you want. • Be sure to express as SMART objectives. Go back and identify contingency plans • Do a "what if" analysis on your goals "If you don't get accepted to grad school this year. what will you do?"
Tip: The more contingency plans you have the more likely you will be able to survive the inevitable setbacks. Also be aware that there's a natural desire from people within an industry to inflate its prospects (to ensure a good supply of new recruits in the future. "What am I going to do to get hired?"
With your "Who I Am" statement and your research as your compass. however so can Grid Analysis which helps you make comparisons where many variables are involved. What is your long-term vision for yourself in terms of your career? Write down the steps you need to take or the things you need to accomplish. Now's the time to narrow down to one! Again. Many people tend to move from their purpose right into job search mode.) Take official figures with a pinch of salt! By the end of all of this research. Tip 2: Recognize that the more opportunities you have. or a whole host of other distractions. You will also have much more confidence in yourself despite the bumps in the road. an opening that Uncle Vinny has. the better the job
. Answering "How do I Get Hired?"
In this last phase you answer. This will only lead to dissatisfaction down the road.11
Tip: Be careful when using career trends to identify career possibilities: The desire to pursue an up and coming career may overshadow your mission and purpose. • These are your short term goals.
The effort however.
You know when you are in a job you like.12
that you'll be able to choose. You sense that your skills and talents are being wasted. Uncovering your true self and your purpose is heavy. is certainly worth it when you end up with a clear sense of the direction your career should be taking. What lies behind our feelings of work satisfaction or dissatisfaction are our fundamental work interests: These are the things that we enjoy doing. you may not be happy working in a job that needs quick decisions. artistic people would be
. Likewise. There are certainly no guarantees but with the right amount of planning and a sufficient dose of reality. if you’re a science person. the career that you are meant for will materialize. Concentrate on creating as many opportunities as possible! Now you are free to pursue your dream career with confidence. Learning is replaced with routine. emotional work and you may have to go through this process a few times in the span of your working life. whatever the industry or the job title. For example. or where you need to use your “gut” to guide you.
Signs a career direction evaluation may be in order:
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Your job lacks challenge and excitement for you. You are feeling unappreciated.
Using "Holland's Codes" Shaping a career that suits your personality. The more effort you put into the planning stages the better your results. Your promotional and/or development opportunities are limited.
Finding career direction is a process. You are suffering from stress or depression. The trick to finding career satisfaction can be to identify those core interests and match your job to them. You also know when the task you're doing just isn't right for you. You are no longer having fun.
tools. Value concrete and tangible things like . and status. Here we look at your work interests – an important part of your work personality. curious. practical. Avoid activities that seem mundane. and genuine. persistent. but may not be good with people. Investigative people:
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See themselves as highly intelligent. In a perfect world. power. we would all choose careers that suit our core interests. Investigative (I): Investigative people like activities that involve creative investigation of the world or nature. but often lack leadership skills. Avoid "social" activities. Realistic people:
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See themselves as mechanically or athletically talented.
Analytical. Realistic (R): These are people who like well-ordered activities. inflexible.
Hard-headed. and reserved.13
driven mad in a profession that has lots of rules and procedures. pessimistic.
. You’re likely to find that jobs that suit your ability and personality are much more rewarding than those that don’t. commercial or "enterprising". However this is not a perfect world: For all sorts of reasons. those that need interaction with other people. or enjoy working with objects. we can find ourselves in positions where what we’re doing just doesn’t suit our natural interests and abilities. or which demands a lot of number crunching. precise. Ability and personality are the two main things contribute towards job satisfaction. This is where understanding how job and personality fit together can help you change the situation for the better. materialistic. Value scientific endeavors.
2. and machines.
Understanding the Theory: Holland’s Codes
In the 1970s John Holland developed a popular theory of interest development based around these six personality types: 1. intellectual.money.
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See themselves as aggressive. Avoid activities demanded by "investigative" occupations and situations. patient. training.
Generous. complicated . adventurous. Social (S): Social people enjoy informing. and enjoy using materials to create art. tactful. popular. Value aesthetics. sensitive. Value social activities. but may lack scientific ability.
Extroverted. understanding and able to teach others.
Idealistic. sociable. introspective.
4. and cooperative. Conventional people
. ambitious. Conventional (C):
3. developing. and exhibitionistic. reproducing materials. Artistic people:
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See themselves as talented artists.
Conventional people enjoy manipulating data. and organizing written or numerical data. optimistic. Social people:
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Perceive themselves as helpful. Avoid "conventional" occupations or situations. Value political and economic achievement. emphatic. Avoid activities demanded by "realistic" occupations and situations.
5. impractical and nonconformist. persuasive. filing. curing and enlightening others. Artistic (A): Artistic people like unstructured activities. great leaders and speakers. people enjoy reaching Enterprising organizational goals or achieving economic (E): gain. record keeping.
Avoid unstructured or "artistic" activities.
. practical. ESA). This gives their Holland's code (for example. For example. and methodical. the career most aligned with that type is most likely to be enjoyable and satisfying. For example Artistic people are least like Conventional people and most like Social and Investigative people. conscientious. Jobs with Conventional or Operational characteristics would be the next best choices. The way that this works in practice is that people use a personality test to identify their three top personality types. This is then matched against the Holland's codes of people typically found within particular careers.
Holland then arranged these six personality types into a hexagon (see figure 1. Value business and economic achievement.15
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See themselves as having clerical and numerical ability. inflexible. data. and ideas. and that the distance between work personalities indicates the degree of difference in interests between them.
Efficient. defensive. things. a Realistic person would be best suited for a Technical job and least suited for Social job. Holland's theory is that people with different personality types prefer working with different work stimuli. below) organized according to people's preference for working with different stimuli at work: people.
Holland's conclusion was that for any personality type.
Part Two: Analyze your job in terms of your interests
Step iii: Look at your main tasks and responsibilities. explore any differences between your assessment of yourself and theirs. family. There are many of these. not who we really are. ask yourself why: Often we choose a personality type that reflects who we want to be.
Part One: Identify your Work Personality
Step i: Read through the brief descriptions given above and find the one you most identify with. learn from this!) Tip 1: Do try the online tests – they're not expensive (for example. One strategy to deal with this is to
. Try one: Does the assessment say what you thought it would? If they aren't. Use this to decide whether your job is a good fit for your interests or not. or in helping you shape your existing job so that you maximize your fulfillment. work out at least one way of bringing the two sides together. ask yourself. These are more Artistic responsibilities. and so on. many of your roles will be in-line with your interests. To shape your job. if you were asked to organize the Christmas party. Using Holland's Codes is a straightforward process. Here again. you might be very uncomfortable about deciding about decorations. just complete steps i and ii below. Step v: For each of the job roles where your interests are not well matched. For instance. (If so.16
How to Use Holland Codes Career Model:
There are two good ways of using this model – either in helping you choose a career that suits you. if you are a "Conventional" person working in an administrative position. which is made all the easier by some useful online interest evaluation sites. To find your ideal career according to this approach. use our complete process. and friends categorize me?" Show some of your friends and co-workers descriptions of the types and ask them to categorize you. You may want to take an official Holland Code Assessment. Are they aligned with your work personality? Step iv: List those responsibilities that are aligned in one column and those that are not in another. This can save you a huge amount of painstaking research! Step ii: To further explore your "true" work personality. However. one costs US$9. entertainment.99) and a good one will show you the careers and professions that most suit your code once you've completed it. "How would my spouse. which are directly opposite to your Conventional ways. costing different amounts – you can find them by typing "Holland Code Assessment" into Google.
If you're thinking about your career.)
Holland’s Career Codes provides a useful framework for exploring your personal interests and the careers most likely to suit you. Tip 2: Remember that this is a model – it's a useful way of looking at things. You maintain the Administrative duties and get rid of the Artistic ones. Likewise.17
delegate the Artistic tasks and assume responsibility for making sure the tasks get done. but it can't possibly capture all of the complexities of the ways that people behave at work.
Part Three: Set Goals to Bring Your Interests and Responsibilities in line
Step vi: The best way of making sure that something gets done is to set a specific. and the focus of the job has changed subtly. and set realistic goals to change things. as well as other skills that normally go with other personality types (if you're going to be a CEO. By identifying your particular interests you can quickly uncover the parts of your job that give your satisfaction. Identify two or three of the most important problem areas. as you take responsibility for people and then move upwards within an organization. Tip 3: Also bear in mind that as you develop in your career you'll need to extend your skills into new areas. In particular. and do well. Every occupation requires a particular set of characteristics. you need to develop the "Social" ability to work with other people. Make sure that you interpret any conclusions with common sense.
Shaping your job to fit you better
Have you ever noticed something like this going on at work? It's now about six months since the arrival of a new Program Office Administrator. This helps you think about what you want to achieve with your life. and set the goals that will lead you there. time limited goal. look at our Life Plan Workbook. and the way it fits with the future shape of your life. This helps you develop your career in the right direction – one that will be a source of long-term fulfillment.
. you can identify areas of dissatisfaction and help you plan how to address these. there's a lot of "Conventional" work that you just have to do.
So. however. You shift the emphasis of the job towards things that you can do really well. you can play to your strengths. Practically any job can be crafted. but what makes it a really powerful tool is that it allows you to increase the control you have over your own professional life. 3. or using your knowledge to change working methods. 4.)
. so that you can generate better results. Overall. using skills that you already have. Her successor. they've both been really good performers. what's going on? The answer is that both Rebecca and Stephen have been using the concept of job crafting. By subtly redesigning your job like this. it's about creating opportunities to play to your strengths. The idea here is that many jobs are actually quite flexible.
Task content: This involves improving the way that things are done. Check on progress. Job crafting may seem like a simple idea. improving both satisfaction and performance. Rebecca. while "wowing" your employer at the same time. 2. without necessarily consulting managers or having to wait for their approval. at least to some extent. He's now enhancing the different progress reports to make key information stand out more effectively. though. has a particular flair for graphic design. Decide what you want to change. so that it's closer to your "ideal" job.
Let's look at each of these steps in more detail. Stephen. meaning that their focus can be adjusted to fit the skills and preferences of the current job-holder. (If you're not sure what your strengths are.
How to start crafting your job today
To "craft your job". using her competence in finance to develop new procedures for checking the monthly financial reports for all of the projects in the program. Evaluate how the change will impact you and your work environment. adjust and continue. and away from those where your performance is likely to be weaker. Step 1: Decide what you want to change by crafting your job You can make changes in one or more of the following areas to craft the way you work. making a big contribution to the efficiency and organization of the team. use the Reflected Best Self™ exercise to explore them. did a great job. Act to put positive change in place. The ways that that Rebecca and Stephen crafted their work as Program Office Administrators fell into this category. and you can start whenever you want.18
The previous post-holder. In short. follow these steps:
or more interaction with people from other departments. more effective workforce. Remember that effective job crafting usually depends on finding a win-win solution. you might look for ways to have more satisfying interactions with other people during the course of your work each day. and while this can certainly add to your enjoyment of your work. So look for things you could change in the first two categories to get the most out of job crafting. but the overall impact may well be negative. What you get out this could be simple enjoyment because you enjoy teaching people things. you need to assess the potential impact of these possible changes on your wider work environment. You could volunteer to train new-hires on the system.19
Relationships: Here. your colleagues. or at least that your job crafting is compatible with your work environment. where she's less likely to find you! You might achieve your short-term goal of avoiding these meetings. Stephen might volunteer to mentor new hires. For example. or provide updates on system changes for your colleagues. Purpose: You can also redefine your existing work to reflect what you see as being the real impact of what you do at work. a programmer working in the IT department of an airline could reframe his or her work from "writing code" to "helping people enjoy trouble-free travel". In our example. For example. you may have significant experience in using your organization's internal accounting system. Here. if you dislike having meetings with your supervisor. read our article on Creating Job Satisfaction. and the organization as a whole. and see if other job crafting changes might work better!
. If this isn't the case. it won't help you to expand your skills or affect your output greatly. you should take into account your clients. What your organization gets from this is a better-trained. go back to Step 1.
Note: Crafting job purpose doesn't involve any actual changes in the content of your work. For more on this. For example. or a boost to your own self-esteem. So make sure you're headed for a mutually beneficial outcome. your supervisor or manager. you might be tempted to craft your job so that you spend more time in the test lab.
Step 2: Evaluate how crafting your job will impact you and your environment Next. Avoid any temptation to turn a job crafting exercise into a win-lose situation.
within your recrafted job. Helping you approach your work with more energy and enthusiasm.
. you decide what's going to make you feel better valued and more productive. lead to career enhancement opportunities. When you have a number of other people to supervise.
And of course. it's time to put your job crafting into practice.
What job crafting can do for you
The benefits of job crafting can include:
• • •
Giving you greater enjoyment from what you do at work. adjust and continue
Having gone through Steps 1.20
Also. you need to take them into account when you consider any job crafting. This is the phenomenon whereby people have become so accustomed to indifference to their contributions that they believe that no matter what they do. Step 3: Act to put positive job crafting change in place At this stage. Tip 1: You can always ask your manager's opinion about how you're crafting your job. Job crafting gives you the chance to turn this situation around. if you have any managerial responsibilities. The only condition is that your decisions must have positive outcomes for your organization. your employer wanted someone to carry out your duties. By refocusing your job in this way. In job crafting. or expect. After all. and you feel good about what's happening. you can let your changes become a habit. But don't wait for. you're fully meeting the objectives you've been set. and you decide to make the necessary changes. nothing will come of it. Encouraging real personal development by improving skills. 2 and 3 above. in itself. the key is to get rid of any symptom of what psychologists call "learned helplessness". If everything checks out. and make sure that it really is compatible with your wider work environment. you take the initiative! Tip 2: Don't expect to be able to redefine your job completely. managerial input or approval before you start. ensure that your boss and clients are happy with what's going on. perfecting the skill of job crafting can. as mentioned in Step 2. Step 4: Check on your job crafting progress. and you accepted that when you were hired! Make absolutely sure that. even small changes in how you work can have significant effects on the people who depend on you. check that it gives you what you want.
what will happen to the company and industry you work for? We really don't know what the future holds. you put the changes into practice. This means that what we are doing now will be different in the future. you may uncover some interesting ideas. building skills and increasing your general ability to cope with your work. you make sure they become a habit. will your job even exist in its present form in five years. Start crafting today!
The Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) at the University of Michigan has a useful Job Crafting Exercise. By categorizing their experiences according to the list in Step 1. and then. or in 10 or even 20 years time? And over this time. What we do know for certain is that change is a constant in the workplace.
Future Proof Your Career
Developing skills for your future as well as for today
How will your job be different five years from now? Indeed. compare notes with other colleagues who are appreciated at work and who clearly enjoy their jobs. so that it suits you better. The benefits you can get from crafting your job include boosting results. you look for a win-win solution. This is a template that you can buy on-line to help you apply the ideas discussed here. in order to change aspects of your current job. How can you predict and prepare for this workplace of the future? What should you be doing now to make sure you don't find yourself facing a dead end in your career?
. There are four basic steps: you decide what you want to change.21
Tip 3: For pointers on how you might set about job crafting. and so find out what might also work for you.
Job crafting is something that you decide to do. having checked they're having a positive effect. An important element of successful job crafting is that it's you who takes the initiative: you don't need to wait for your manager or supervisor to give you instructions. increasing enjoyment.
That's why you see nurses with business skills and technology experts with financial experience. or in addition to. Pick and choose from among them to build your unique Future Proofing Kit. innovation. your kit may need to adapt as well.22
This article gives you some strategies you can begin pursuing now. Along with technical skills. Develop cross-functional skills. do it. as your own circumstances change.
Your specific technical skills may get out of date. If you're in a highly technical field of work. It can pay off for some.) When you work for this kind of company. it has high risk of obsolescence attached. specialization is no longer the route of choice.
Future Proofing Kit
Find an "Academy" company. Here are some ways to do this:
• • •
Choose two competencies or skills to improve each year. If that means learning the newest online tools like blogging and web conferencing. skills and experience. you are enrolled in a continuous development program that goes well beyond the technical skills you need for your current role. make sure you use it to plan your skills development. To maximize your chances of success. Otherwise. Leadership. what you are doing now. Beyond a certain stage in your career and in uncertain environments. even if new developments don't seem directly related to your current job. They will help you keep your skills current and your opportunities open. We keep finding faster and leaner ways to do things. You need to develop the transferable skills that are universally sought by employers. communication. get a job at a company renowned in its industry for developing its people (traditional examples are GE. Monitor and track your progress. however. it is critically important to continue your professional development. Toyota and Mars. skills and abilities can help you secure a new job or may even open the door to working in a new industry. consider joining our Career Excellence Club to learn these skills. If you're early in your career. so that you remain in demand in the marketplace. Refer back to this list often and take inventory of what you should be doing either differently from. Develop a five year learning plan to acquire the knowledge and education you need. Much of the change we see has to do with new technology. This forms a great foundation for a successful career. be proactive and stay current even when your company does not. Develop your competencies. and if you have our Personal Development Plan Workbook. Force yourself to keep your technical skills current. And yes. A broad range of competencies. you'll get left behind and may have to catch up a huge amount before you can head off in a new direction in the future. Get and remain tech-savvy. use the tips found in the Personal Goal Setting article to help you set development goals effectively. And remember. stress management and interpersonal skills are all fundamental requirements of the jobs of today and tomorrow.
Join professional networking associations. however stay ahead of the crowd
• • • • •
Track your duties. you have the added bonus of learning new skills. You need to acquire the ability to work within the international marketplace by:
• • •
Learning about working with diverse cultures. Be aware of changes and trends in the economy. No one can accurately predict the future. They can bring you along with them as they weather changes. Having a list of objective strengths and accomplishments can do a lot to improve your motivation and belief in your abilities. This will make you much more attractive to employers in the future. File your performance reviews and the written letters and emails you receive that note your performance. Employers want to know what you will do for them.
The more experience you get. projects and results. geographical barriers to business are getting less and less relevant. your profession and the industry you are in. Note your volunteer work. These people will be invaluable as the landscape of work changes. Make sure that you develop good relationships with people both within and outside your organization.
• • • •
Collect business cards. Learning another language. Create and maintain a success journal. When you have a ready list of things you have done. technologies and strategies that will help you move your career in the direction you want. Your co-workers. the more confidence you will have when working in the global marketplace.23
"Think global. Keep track of former bosses and colleagues. You need to be proactive and take continuous inventory of what you do really well. List the training you've completed.
Use this success journal to track your strengths and successes and also to affirm your wonderful qualities as well. it is much easier to recall your most relevant achievements and skills. the accolades you have been given and the noteworthy results you've been responsible for. Asking for assignments that require international exposure. clients and stakeholders now and in the future can be from anywhere in the world. Keep a list of professional development activities you've participated in. When you add a mentor or two to your network. Participate in a wide range of activities and build relationships beyond your current career or industry. All of us need to boost our confidence and self esteem from time to time." In many industries. Build and maintain a professional network. The time to start thinking about your accomplishments and skills is not when you are looking for a new job. and can provide opportunities when your current position looks uncertain.
Scan the environment.
you can take control of your future career
To learn more about resiliency. Back your hunches and analysis with action. Keep a clear career path open.24
by keeping yourself informed. you will eventually have to leave. monitor your progress and identify what is holding you back. This may not be a problem if you're in a fast growth industry . It is better to prepare now. however hard you work. and choosing to work in industries . Being an expert in a dying field may provide a niche strategy into the medium term. even if it means a job. in the long term.or career-change.
While your job description may not be relevant in the future. this will not be the case.that have long-term sustainability. then this is a problem: There may be no onward path. boredom and. failure to achieve your potential. All of these techniques can be very useful as you begin to plan and prepare for your future. you will probably encounter setbacks no matter how much you prepare and plan. You may be fortunate enough to be in an organization where there's a clear and attractive career path ahead of you. you can ensure the skills you bring to the table are. If you think your company or industry is in trouble.and for employers . You need to become good at both to secure your future career. Develop realistic and achievable goals.
• • • • Keep track of business trends by reading a good newspaper and the industry
press. Complete a PEST analysis for your industry and others you are interested in. Because the future is uncertain. however. For many.
• • •
Evaluate and affirm your strengths on a regular basis. However if you're in a slow growth industry or are one in decline. Build your flexibility and maintain your enthusiasm despite what is happening around you. With some forethought and planning. This will lead to frustration. it's best to get out while the going's good!
Overall. See our article on Career Planning to find out how to do this. People who will be successful are those with the ability to bounce back and consider such setbacks as learning experiences. and development may be blocked. opportunities will most-likely appear with alarming regularity. avoid industries and companies that are on a downward slide. Analyze the attractiveness of your company using Porter's Five Forces and USP Analysis.if you're good at what you do. And they all have in common the elements of risk management and career planning. listen to the Expert Interview with Cal Crow. Develop resilience. This is where you need to review your options and take action to unblock your career.
When you realize that change is constant and you are constantly planning so you stay ahead of the game. and you're so inspired by the new role that you know you would quickly gain the necessary knowledge. and you'd like to apply for the job as soon as the vacancy is advertised. it's not always realistic or practical to obtain those qualifications. What can you do? Well. Sure. The only problem is that this new type of work requires qualifications or experience that you currently don't have.
This may come as a surprise.even if they are not directly related to your current job. You've always wanted to work in management. So you ask yourself: Do you really have the time or desire to quit your current job to pursue that advanced degree you need? Can you afford to spend the money or vacation time on executivelevel coaching courses? While gaining formal qualifications is the best way of advancing your career. for many people. we offer strategies for gaining the skills necessary to help you secure the job of your dreams.they may be advertised on a bulletin board or company intranet . you will find yourself in a great position to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. So. Let's say you've heard a rumor that a management position at your company will open up in the next few months.
Overcoming a Lack of Qualifications
Gaining the skills you need
Imagine this scenario: You're doing a great job in your current role. and keep an eye out for opportunities that arise in your organization . but volunteering isn't just about doing charity work: it's also a great way to acquire new skills that would be hard to learn elsewhere. what are some alternative ways of learning the skills you need. The key is not so much in how skilled you are at predicting what will happen. What about joining an employee relations committee? Or
. you've got some useful skills.25
today. In this article. it is in how attuned you are to the early indications of change. but you've recently become interested in a completely different line of work. you can show initiative. without spending too much time and money? The good news is that there are several ways to overcome your lack of qualifications. This is something you feel passionate about. and it could advance your career to exciting new levels. But you currently have no management experience. But you fear you may not get the opportunity.
budgeting. don't dismiss the long-term value of the knowledge you'll gain. then applying for a related position.26
how about a planning committee that's organizing a major company event? Why not volunteer to run it? Taking on new duties will involve more work (and. Imagine that you'd like to start a career as a journalist. project management. depending on the new company or position.
Start at a Lower Level
This may not seem to make sense at first. Failing to consider a lower-level position might mean you would miss out on these opportunities. Eventually. fundraising. Applying 'downward' may not seem appealing in the short term. it may be worth exploring this option if it helps you reach your ultimate goal. Why would you apply for a position further down the ladder from the one you want? Here's the reason: If you have no qualifications or experience for a specific role. you could make the transition to full-time journalist. chances are pretty high that you won't get a writing position without a portfolio. But if you take a job as a receptionist at a media organization. can at least lead you one step closer to the job you really want. as a volunteer. These skills are highly valued in the business world.such as school boards and youth work programs look for people to do accounting. and more. And.
. you won't get paid for it). The company might offer training seminars. and you can add them to your résumé when you apply for a promotion or new job. you'll be able to show that you have experience successfully running a team. Well. You can write a few articles in your spare time. marketing. volunteering for extra jobs or projects can also help you prove to your boss that you can handle increased responsibilities. and the good impression you'll make. with fewer responsibilities and fewer requirements. you'll soon gain detailed knowledge of how a newspaper works. you might be able to learn the skills you need for your ideal job during your regular work day. and to build up your portfolio. You can even offer to help out with some of the smaller articles. in the long term. then consider volunteering for community organizations. and ask your new journalist colleagues for feedback. If you can't identify opportunities within your company. The important thing is to see your name in print. You'll then be in an ideal position if there's a job opening for a writer. writing. However. Many nonprofits . As well as learning new skills. But it's also an opportunity to be involved with managing a group of people. if you really want to make a career change. Although you may not see immediate results. but you have no experience writing feature stories or working in a newspaper environment. or reimburse you for outside classes. When it's time to apply for that management position. You're a good writer.
than a traditional school.
. or on weekends. each exploring a different area of relationship building. do bear in mind that certain occupations require specific qualifications and experience. so you'll have a better chance at a career in upper management. Asking Questions and Telling Stories. then just helping out on a hospital ward will not be enough to secure the job of your dreams. you can become certified or earn a degree in almost any area. often use lectures from several different experts . but they're terrific ways to learn some specific skills to add to your résumé. Instead of a traditional management class. and leadership are just a few subjects you could study in a distancelearning program.plus group exercises and one-to-one coaching. If you attend a longer workshop (lasting a week.on your lunch hour. This is because it's often more efficient than going to classes on campus. Several years of rigorous medical training is essential here . in the evenings. Executive-level workshops. personnel development.
Take Executive-level Workshops
Executive-level courses can help you gain qualifications in a specific area. And.27
However. for example). because it's so common now (compared to even a few years ago). Skills like project management. For example. a traditional campus class is usually taught by one professor. if you want to become a medical doctor. With distance learning. This is an admirable demonstration of your commitment to excel in your career. marketing. Executive workshops often use several different approaches to teach upper-level managers important new skills that will help them advance their careers. you can often complete a qualification in less time . You could attend lectures on topics such as Barriers to Relationship Building.something you would have to consider on a practical level before making such a commitment. you attend class at the time and place of your choice . These are usually intense training sessions that last anywhere from one day to a week or more. Imagine that you decide to take an executive workshop on relationship building. accounting and finance. business management. Perhaps the biggest benefit to distance learning is that. you may have to use your vacation time.
Take Advantage of Distance Learning
Distance learning (Internet-based classes) allows you to gain additional qualifications while working full time. For example. You don't have to waste time driving to and from campus. because you work on your own (instead of at the pace of an entire class). workshops might offer several different lectures. and so on. which may have only one lecture on building relationships. The Cost of Building and Maintaining Relationships. Executive-level workshops can be expensive. however.and at a much lower cost .
you don't necessarily have to give up your dream. This can often be as enlightening as the knowledge you acquire along the way. Where possible. Is your dream job a logical next step from where you are now? Assess whether you need to acquire new skills and/or qualifications to help you make that leap. or invest the time in distance-learning classes. and give you a chance to examine whether you really want the new job enough to work hard for it. It might be willing to reimburse part of the expense. work towards obtaining the formal qualifications you need to get ahead. volunteer for projects that will add those 'must-have' attributes to your résumé. especially if you can prove that the skills you'll learn will be useful for future projects or tasks. If that's not practical. It's never a good idea to wear yourself out in the race to get ahead.
Managing Your Emotions at Work
Controlling Your Feelings.
Apply This to Your Life
1.. – Viktor Frankl. to choose one's way. Before They Control You
Everything can be taken from a man but the last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances.
Although it can be disappointing to realize that you lack the qualifications for the job you want. find out whether courses are available for study by distance learning. 2. 4. This will strengthen your qualifications. You may not only impress your company with your ambition and enthusiasm. but prove to them that you really do care about the job. It's worth checking with your company when you register for a workshop. Consider accepting a lower-level position to gain experience in a new field. If you need professional qualifications to secure your ideal job. Consider where your next career move will be. 3. then take proactive steps to investigate other ways of learning the skills you need. our article on Finding Career Direction could help.28
but make sure you still have enough remaining days off to take a real vacation during the year. 'Man's Search for Meaning'
. If you're still not sure.. If you can gain those new skills within your organization.
we look at the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace – and how you can manage them productively. Frustration/Irritation Frustration usually occurs when you feel stuck or trapped. excitement. or optimism usually don't affect others in a negative way. when your favorite project is cancelled after weeks of hard work. they're great to have in the workplace!
Common Negative Emotions at Work
In 1997. or your boss assigns you more work when you're already overloaded. You know. After all. they may choose to keep those who can handle their emotions. a boss who is too
. Why are we focusing only on negative emotions? Well. when a customer snaps at you unfairly. but it's even more important for you to do so. how can you become better at handling your emotions. staff layoffs. As long as you share positive emotions constructively and professionally. or unable to move forward in some way. and How Should We Measure It?' According to Fisher's research. Dislike. as well as your productivity.
Below are different strategies you can use to help you deal with each of these negative emotions. It may become harder and harder to manage your emotions under these circumstances. Anger/aggravation. After all. Disappointment/unhappiness. no matter what the situation is. compassion. It could be caused by a colleague blocking your favorite project.. So. As the above quote shows. Bond University professor of management Cynthia Fisher conducted a study called 'Emotions at Work: What Do People Feel. and 'choosing' your reactions to bad situations? In this article. Worry/nervousness. your reaction to stressful situations like these might be to start shouting. if management is forced into making more layoffs. when your best friend (and co-worker) is laid off suddenly. But at work. you're always free to choose how you react to it. In your personal life. feelings of joy. and department changes.29
We've all been in one of 'those' situations before. these types of behavior could seriously harm your professional reputation. most people don't need strategies for managing their positive emotions. or to go hide in a corner and feel sorry for yourself for a while.. the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace are as follows:
• • • • •
Frustration/irritation. and work well under pressure. Stressful situations are all too common in a workplace that's facing budget cuts.
Then think of one positive thing about your current situation. and your willingness to take risks at work.
. that probably won't help you keep your job. Remember the last time you felt frustrated – The last time you were frustrated about something. For more on this. which means they're not doing anything for you right now. the situation probably worked out just fine after a while. Find something positive about the situation – Thinking about a positive aspect of your situation often makes you look at things in a different way. and nothing else. When it's people who are causing your frustration. Here are some suggestions for dealing with frustration:
Stop and evaluate – One of the best things you can do is mentally stop yourself. and this can impact not only your mental health. Write it down. and that isn't good for anyone. Try deep-breathing exercises – This helps slow your breathing and your heart rate. This small change in your thinking can improve your mood. and look at the situation. because they can easily lead to more negative emotions. Try these tips to deal with worrying:
Don't surround yourself with worry and anxiety – For example. Worrying tends to lead to more worrying. then you have more time to prepare. if your boss is late for your meeting. or simply being on hold on the phone for a long time. and be specific. they're probably not doing it deliberately to annoy you. just move on.30
disorganized to get to your meeting on time. Whatever the reason. Breathe in slowly for five seconds. if you allow it. it's no wonder that many people worry about their jobs. such as anger.
Worry/Nervousness With all the fear and anxiety that comes with increasing numbers of layoffs. For instance. right? Your feelings of frustration or irritation probably didn't do much to solve the problem then. read Physical Relaxation Techniques. and you sit there and worry. it's certainly not personal! Don't get mad. Focus on how to improve the situation – If you fear being laid off. then breathe out slowly for five seconds. Ask yourself why you feel frustrated. then don't go there and worry with everyone else. Do this at least five times. but also your productivity. it's important to deal with feelings of frustration quickly. if coworkers gather in the break room to gossip and talk about job cuts. you could use this time to relax a little. Focus on your breathing. But this worry can easily get out of control. And if it's a thing that's bothering you – well. Instead. Or.
and practice the deep-breathing exercise we described earlier. and it helps put you back on a more positive path. conduct a proper risk analysis around these things.
To find out more about managing your anger at work. Anger/Aggravation Out-of-control anger is perhaps the most destructive emotion that people experience in the workplace. you can choose how you react in a situation.31 why not brainstorm ways to bring in more business.' and then schedule a time to deal with them. take our self-test How Good Is Your Anger Management? Also. Also. don't let your worries get in the way of being appropriately assertive. it gives you some perspective on the situation. Before that time. no matter what. Just because your first instinct is to become angry doesn't mean it's the correct response. Picture yourself when you're angry – If you imagine how you look and behave while you're angry. read Dealing with Unfair Criticism and Anger Management. If you have trouble managing your temper at work. Stopping your anger early is key. Remember. If you start to get angry. Dislike We've probably all had to work with someone we don't like. and take whatever actions are necessary to mitigate any risks. Is your face red? Are you waving your arms around? Would you want to work with someone like that? Probably not. Here are some ideas for working with people you dislike:
. then learning to control it is one of the best things you can do if you want to keep your job. stop what you're doing – Close your eyes.
When you're worried and nervous about something. It's also the emotion that most of us don't handle very well. This interrupts your angry thoughts. Try these suggestions to control your anger:
Watch for early signs of anger – Only you know the danger signs when anger is building. write them down in a notebook or 'worry log. you can forget about these worries. When it comes to the time you've scheduled. and show how valuable you are to the company?
Write down your worries in a worry log – If you find that worries are churning around inside your mind. if you're about to shout at your co-worker. imagine how you would look. Read our article on Building Self-Confidence to make sure this doesn't happen. it can dent your self-confidence. so learn to recognize them when they begin. But it's important to be professional. For instance. knowing that you'll deal with them.
then it's time to set aside your pride and ego. please see Dealing with Difficult People and Egos at Work. Here are some proactive steps you can take to cope with disappointment and unhappiness:
Look at your mindset – Take a moment to realize that things won't always go your way. After all. as you would treat anyone else. then firmly explain that you refuse to be treated that way. you might be afraid to take another risk. Just because this person behaves in an unprofessional manner. If you've just suffered a major disappointment. these are the most likely to impact your productivity. negative emotions can spread. you always have the power to change your situation. life would be a straight road instead of one with hills and valleys. and learning how to cope with these feelings is now more important than ever. Smile! – Strange as it may sound. Of all the emotions you might feel at work.
Record your thoughts – Write down exactly what is making you unhappy.') Try it – you may be surprised!
We all have to deal with negative emotions at work sometimes. right? And it's the hills and valleys that often make life so interesting. that doesn't mean the goal is no longer reachable. Adjust your goal – If you're disappointed that you didn't reach a goal. ups and downs. but make a small change – for example. start brainstorming ways to solve it or work around it. that doesn't mean you should as well. your energy will probably be low. Remember.
To learn more about handling dislike in the workplace. forcing a smile – or even a grimace – onto your face can often make you feel happy (this is one of the strange ways in which we humans are 'wired. Our Back On Track article provides practical steps for recovering from a major career setback. and no one wants to be around a person who adds negativity to a group. Be assertive – If the other person is rude and unprofessional. If they did. Treat the person with courtesy and respect. and all of that may hold you back from achieving. delay the deadline. set the example.32
Be respectful – If you have to work with someone you don't get along with. and calmly leave the situation. Is it a co-worker? Is it your job? Do you have too much to do? Once you identify the problem. Keep the goal.
. Remember. Disappointment/Unhappiness Dealing with disappointment or unhappiness at work can be difficult.
Organizations move forward by solving problems. Think about it. Promotion isn't just about doing what you're paid to do. It's not necessarily even about being the best "widget" maker you can be.it means doing more of the RIGHT things. Ask yourself these questions:
• • • •
What are the strategic goals of the organization? How does your department's work fit into the overall strategy? How is your boss's performance measured? What critical functions do other people in your team currently perform?
. and that you're ready to take on new ones. The key is identifying ways to add more value to your contribution. you still have to perform well and meet your current job requirements.and that may move you forward too. It's about showing that you have outgrown your current responsibilities. and which types of feelings you face most often. my production output may suddenly fall! Focusing on simply what's expected of you may be a great strategy to keep the job you have. that you've been in the same position for three years while others .33
Know what causes your negative emotions. producing more widgets per hour than anyone has ever produced. remember . why should I promote you? Clearly. Promotion is about pushing the limits of your current position. you have to really understand the drivers of organizational success.in your pursuit of a promotion. and stretching yourself beyond your current role. immediately start your strategy to interrupt the cycle. It doesn't necessarily mean doing more things . then.have been promoted? The people who have been promoted may know one critical thing that you don't. Why is it. When those emotions begin to appear. But going beyond what's expected. Discover ways to be more involved in the solutions . your value to the company is your efficiency. The longer you wait.seemingly lessdeserving people .
Get Ready for Promotion
Showing What You Can Do
You do your job faithfully every day. If you're busy working away.
Understand Your Organization
To prepare for a promotion. before you head out to stop being effective at anything. If I promote you. the harder it will be to pull yourself away from negative thinking. Now. can lead to a new job with more responsibility. You may even do your job exceptionally well.
to similar positions in different departments . while also demonstrating individual competence.
Then. Identify opportunities to delegate your own work. You'll expand your range of experience.it's a win-win!
. and you'll make your boss's job easier . This frees up your time and allows you to practice supervising others' work. Use good judgment when carrying out your responsibilities. Here are some ways to prove your capabilities:
• • •
Complete your work thoroughly and with as little supervision as possible. perhaps by reading the industry press. Become aware of the economic and business pressures facing your organization. find out about the skills you'll need in the new role. These higher-level tasks are what you want to get involved in. if you're a communications manager and feel that there's no place else to go with your job. promotion to a more senior level may become a realistic goal. and stay current in your field. gain experience in other areas of the company. They delegate in order to have more time to work on higher-level tasks. When you have the right mix of experience and skill. come prepared with solutions as well. Also. Determine what you need to learn to add more value. and make a plan to acquire those skills. When you have questions for your boss. For example. and know how your role impacts the company as a whole. Find opportunities to continue your learning and education. This can help you practice your leadership skills and demonstrate your ability to take on new responsibilities. Get up-to-date. To gain access to them. offer to cover a co-worker's responsibilities while he or she is on vacation. you first have to prove that you're capable of handling the increased responsibility. and make sure you acquire these.34
You may even want to make lateral moves .
Increase Your Responsibility
Typically. Try the following:
Volunteer to take on new projects and other opportunities. Think about cost versus benefit. For example. you may also see and be considered for more promotion opportunities. If your exposure is broader. This involves working well as part of a team. to learn and practice other skills. Expand your skill set. look for opportunities to lead projects. Offer to take on tasks that you know your boss dislikes or is weak in. review bottom-line results. managers are given responsibility for something.to increase your overall appreciation for what the company does. and they then delegate various pieces to their staffs.
and incorporate it into your decisions and solutions. Rather than accept things as they are. That's one of the defining characteristics of leaders. Put forward your ideas. find ways to work around them. How can you do something cheaper. and follow it through! See Personal Goal Setting for practical tips. always think about how to do things better. Learn more about innovative thinking in Practical Innovation.
When you run into obstacles. Take note of who your internal competition might be . Set your goal.and work hard to distinguish yourself and make yourself stand out. Look for a mentor within the organization.
If you prove that you're interested in improving organizational performance and that you can come up with some original ideas. Having someone to talk to. and set goals to learn the skills you need for success. you're the one who needs to work proactively to make a promotion happen.
. the better. The more you learn from other people's experiences. Understand the big picture. and who might champion your ideas. faster.others in your company who may want the same position you want . you'll probably end up disappointed. Look for things that aren't being done at all. even if you aren't sure of the response. this can be a great way to set the stage for promotion. and getting noticed for your ability to inspire and motivate.
Set Promotion Goals
Ultimately. This demonstrates both your imagination and willingness to take risks. Innovation isn't always improving things that already exist . Find out what they did to get where they are. think how you can improve them . Talk to people who hold the kinds of positions and levels of authority that you want. A positive attitude can go a long way toward reaching your goals. is a great benefit.it's often adding something of value as well. Be prepared for many of your ideas to not be accepted. If you rely on someone else to make it happen. See Finding a Mentor for practical steps and strategies. Take action with these steps:
Identify your career goals within the organization. or with less waste? Consider the following:
Demonstrate critical thinking when you report to your boss.35
To prepare for a promotion.and come up with innovative ways to do those things better. Evaluate your strengths.
If you aren't ready yet. Understand what drives your company's success. You have to be your own best champion: Preparing for a promotion is no time to be quiet and shy.36
Communicate Your Desire
Doing all of the above will likely be met with great appreciation. though. let others who have influence over the decision know what you're doing. find out what experience and skills are needed to get that job. Using your knowledge of the organization. That won't guarantee a promotion. You need many people to know what you're capable of and what you want. By being proactive. Seek advice on how to prepare for that role. you can create the path to the position that you want. To prepare for promotion. and then proactively work to achieve it. Let people know what you want. Let as many people as appropriate know what type of role interests you. Here are some steps you can take to make your wishes known:
• • • •
Identify a role or position toward which you want to work. and communicate your promotion goals to others. Network with people in the company. expand your skill set.
Get the Recognition You Deserve
. and even being the best at what you do.
Earning a promotion is partly within your control. Simply doing what's expected of you. Ask for the promotion when it becomes available. increase your value to the organization. Be smart about the type of value opportunities that you create. take on more of the right responsibilities. are not guarantees of advancement. use this as an opportunity to develop the skills you need.
As you execute your promotion plan. Work with your boss to set performance objectives so that you can achieve the necessary skills and experience.
That includes you. there is a way to do this. That's why you sometimes have to take matters into your own hands. you would. Why? Firstly. then what happens when you ask for a raise? How will he or she know you're ready for that promotion.37 Learning how to get praise
Imagine this: You stay late at work. what exactly are you looking for? It's important to really define this.
Step One: Decide What You Want
Companies often thank staff with awards.
. Then. because everyone wants something different. consistently win accounts that your co-workers only dream of. and as a result. get thanks and recognition from management? Well. or bonuses. or a cold. Believe it or not. people often just want simple praise. Do you want a simple "thank you"? An award ceremony in your honor? A raise?
Step Two: Define Why You Deserve Praise
Don't walk into your boss's office with no advance preparation to say what a great job you've been doing. certificates. Be sure to make yourself look good.and to top it all off. you wish. So. it would seem odd. There are many types of recognition. if you're a bit nervous. so decide what type you want. she forgets to show any gratitude to her stars. you finish even your worst projects successfully and ahead of schedule. Make a list of the accomplishments you'd like to discuss. you might forget something important that you've done. never miss deadlines. at least once in a while. hard check doesn't always communicate that. You'd think that by doing all of this. But look at it this way: If your boss doesn't notice your hard work. Beside each one. An "Employee of the Month" certificate. You might forget the help a co-worker gave you. and never show up late . Unfortunately. However. your boss is busy dealing with a "problem" member of the team. Have you ever been in a situation like this? Working hard and getting ignored by your boss can be rough. and leaving out that person could speak poorly of your character. We want to know that our work is meaningful and that we've made a difference. but also share credit where credit is due. or if you can handle that huge-but-fascinating project? Things don't have to be like that. Boasting of your own accomplishments can feel awkward. list the value that accomplishment has brought to the company. and you don't point it out to him or her. We'll show you how to get the recognition you deserve without looking like you're seeking attention.
. however. let's say you spent hours writing the annual message to shareholders. emphasize how you had help and how your co-workers should be rewarded for their hard work as well. so think of ways to let your boss know how hard you've been working. For example. consider that her actions may really say that she trusts you to do top-notch work.he or she may be praising you. If you tell your boss directly. or when you're finally able to please your company's worst customer. a "thank you" for a job well done is nice. send your boss an email every time you win a new account. These little "progress reports" keep your actions in the open in a delicate. Yes. Tell your boss honestly how members of the team need some recognition.in a private area.38
Step Three: Praise Yourself
This is where you've got to get creative. and your boss only quickly glanced at it before passing it on to be copied. By bringing their hard work and accomplishments to your boss's attention. but don't speak up if you don't really mean it. If so. then say it. and all the really great ones seem to be ignored. then you may have to do something bold to get management's attention. she may also notice the great job that you've been doing. Keep it genuine and honest. In your work environment. then think of ways to let your boss know what you're doing without being so obvious or bold. and you don't even realize it. You can also praise others in front of your boss. You know your boss and your business environment. Before you get upset. Keep the focus off yourself. and you may look bad. but this kind of trust is also a compliment. and help your boss understand how everyone would be more motivated if they just got a little praise now and then. If this feels a little too much like bragging. and she doesn't have read every line to know you've done a great job. You know that list of accomplishments you just created? Read that over a few times before your meeting. then do it carefully and tactfully . then people may notice. As you talk. If you appear insincere. perhaps all the problem behaviors get noticed. If you have something good to say. For example. A Few Tips
Look closely at your boss's actions .
keep your eyes open for activities and co-workers that deserve praise. If so. and consider copying that email to his or her boss. If your boss doesn't see the great work you've been doing. Whenever someone does something that's earned a heartfelt "thanks. If you're a team leader. Think of subtle ways to get your boss's attention by talking privately. you should steadily earn your own praise as well
Living with a Lack of Job Security Coping with uncertainty
Some of the people you know may have only had a few jobs .and to do that.
These are just a few ways you can "raise the bar" in your workplace to get other people thinking about praise and recognition. This can show your boss that you're leading by example. Even if you keep the focus off yourself. and praising your teammates when he or she is around to hear it. When you recognize the efforts of your team. If you notice co-workers doing something great.or even one job . Send him or her an email when she's made a difference in your day. having grown up at a time where company loyalty and hard work provided a steady career and a comfortable
. It's up to you to prove that you can handle the added responsibility . and they're not working for the government. he or she might give that promotion or special project to someone else without knowing any better. Apply This to Your Life:
Ready to put this into action? Here are some easy ways to use this tool in your life right now:
Begin by recognizing the accomplishments of others." send that person an email and copy it to your boss. sending emails about small accomplishments.39
Although not everyone is comfortable talking about their accomplishments. and send copies to your boss. it may get him or her to notice what you've been doing as well. send them emails praising their efforts.in their lives. your boss has to know what you've already done. you might harm yourself if you don't speak up. Don't forget that your boss might need some praise and recognition too. they're likely to be older than 50.
So. People entering the workforce within the past few years may have more than 10 different jobs before they retire. then you have a lot to offer other potential employers if you get laid off. and financial situation are much different from those of your colleagues. and learning how to cope is essential to being happy. downsizing." What else can you do . so don't expect yourself to feel or react like they do: they'll manage stress their own way.40
pension. however. In today's job market. "job security" can seem like a thing of the past. outsourcing. Some studies suggest that living with job insecurity . If you're a good worker with marketable skills. We'll show you what you can do now to deal with the feeling of a lack of job security. never making the break to search for something better. team management. This is why it's so important to keep your skills relevant and up-to-date. learn how to handle the psychological pressure and stress. think "outside the box. but you can control how you look at it.
Coping with Stress
Living with constant insecurity can be stressful. another one opens. Next. and your people skills.the "fear" of losing your job . It can be an adventure. willingness to adapt to change. It's important to realize that not everyone reacts the same way to job insecurity. So.
. The lack of job security that goes with this is something that almost everyone must face at one time or another. try some of these tips:
Remember the saying "Whenever one door closes. because you'll know you've done all you can. contracting." Living with uncertainty can be uncomfortable. It's impossible to know what the future will bring. be prepared. keeping a positive attitude can make all the difference! If you're stressed about your career.can be more harmful to your health than actually losing it. and leadership). recession and even natural disaster. Your home life. For more information. and never having a reason to fear layoffs. how do you deal with this uncertainty? First. the technical skills you need can change quickly. so preparing in advance can help reduce your worries. develop your nontechnical skills as well. and the chance to do something new. They might have spent 20 or 30 years with the same company.and how can you prove that you could learn a new line of work? Look at your track record of being adaptable. Here. and keeping stress away. If your lack of job security is due to a drop in demand for your technical skills. As a result of globalization. and use this site to build solid career skills. your organizational skills (time management. the world is much different. read our Book Insight on "Career Intelligence" by Barbara Moses. These days.
Communicating and expressing frustrations are important. Skills like effective time management. who would you lay off: the person who leaves at 5:01 pm each day and complains all the time. Look for lateral transfers within your company. or the person who's willing to take on extra work and always has something positive to say? If you face uncertainty in your field.
"Brag" About Yourself
Many people resist talking about their accomplishments because they don't want to boast. or what you're capable of doing. It's your life. if you don't tell her. Also. But think of it this way: your boss may not know how great you are. So.
Keeping your skills current is essential if you want to offer value to your company. make sure you give value to your company.
. This kind of commitment can help to set you apart from the crowd. Be willing to stay late to finish a project. perhaps your skills would allow you to do something completely different within the organization. and you were forced to eliminate one position.41
Stress can result from a feeling that you don't have control over your situation. you ALWAYS have control. allow everyone to voice their fears. and it's within your power to change it. Take outside classes and read trade publications. but don't let these fears dominate the group." then take control and act. and office organization can help you anywhere . Do things to show your boss that you love your job and you'll do what it takes to help the company succeed. If you're afraid that you might get "downsized. Remember. This can create negativity and hurt morale. You'll have to do more than "just the minimum" if you want to keep your job. leadership techniques.
Prove Your Worth
If you were your boss. have an open discussion. For more on how to brag about yourself (without being viewed as arrogant or overconfident). read Getting the Recognition You Deserve. Start learning about other departments. so that you know what's going on in your field. Help another team member who's falling behind. Be PROactive instead of REactive. By talking about your accomplishments. think about taking classes that would benefit your role in any company. to a different department or even a different branch.no matter what job you're doing. If you're part of a team (or if you're leading a team). you keep him or her informed of your value. Make sure you're up to date on your industry's certifications and trends. but focus on what you can all do to move forward and cope.
living with job insecurity is a reality for many. so you don't have to worry about paying your bills if you do lose your job. even if it's not the right match. and put yourself onto a new. Take control by ensuring that your company knows how great you are. Remember. Preparing yourself for change is a great way to feel better about the situation. you might forget an important accomplishment that could mean winning . Look at this change as an adventure and as the chance to try something new. Save at least three to six months of living expenses . Changing your mindset can go a long way toward reducing your stress.this can help you take the time you need to find the best opportunity.or losing . not on doubt and uncertainty. This alone can convince people to accept the first job offer they receive. if work dries up in your area.
Save Your Money
Few things are more stressful than wondering how you'll pay your bills if you suddenly lose your job. and invest time in keeping your skills up to date. exciting path. You won't have to rush to make changes (and risk making mistakes). not just those who are actively looking for work (or afraid they might be soon).42
Keep Your Résumé Up to Date
This is smart for everyone to do. When your résumé is current. If you wait until the last minute. Focus on the positive. you can be ready at a moment's notice to apply for a new position even one within your own company. and you can be sure to present yourself in the very best light.the job. If you do get laid off. your life is what you make of it!
. remember that the world is full of opportunities. It can also give you the resources you need to look further afield. This can help you turn a bad situation into a chance to reevaluate your career.
In today's business world. if you are laid off. And save some money. But it doesn't have to be stressful and negative.
Depression 5. Sure. the more you know. it helps to know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead. You might skip a stage. but then skip directly to acceptance. Bargaining 4. the better equipped you'll be to handle the ups and downs that you're likely to face. A younger worker with no mortgage payments and no children may experience denial and self-criticism. losing a job may not be quite as upsetting as this. Anger. simply because more stress is involved.
. or spend a long time in one stage and move quickly through the next one.
Not everyone experiences each stage the same way.43 Life after Job Loss Coping with the emotional turmoil
The Five Stages of Loss
In a famous piece of research. Denial. your age and life situation might partly determine how long you spend in each stage. 3. Acceptance. however it can be a profoundly unhappy and stressful experience. Given the intensity of the stress you're likely to be experiencing right now. and it can help to think in terms of Kübler-Ross's stages. and think about what you can do to cope with each one. All of the headlines and statistics about the current economic crisis have become personal: you've been laid off. Let's look at the stages in more detail. or in the same time frame. These are:
1. 2. it finally happened. Also. or whether you experience a certain stage at all. Workers who have more responsibilities might take longer to move to the acceptance stage. After all. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five different stages of grief that people go through when mourning the death of a loved one.
Hurting the people you love will push them away. This is only prolonging the process of getting over what has happened. try to express your emotions in a healthy way. This can be one of the most difficult stages. Don't pretend that you're just on an unexpected vacation or – worse – put your business suit on and catch the train as usual in the morning. you have to open your mind to the fact that that bad. After all. or the economy in general. This doesn't mean that you should start kicking and screaming. To cope. In Kübler-Ross's original model. and that you have to live with them. if you've worked hard and "given your all". If your anger causes you to treat others badly. your boss. or seek counseling. this reflected a form of subconscious bargaining with a higher power: "I just want to live to see my daughter married…" In the case of job loss. This may give you the outlet you need to move past your feelings of anger. and make you feel worse. especially for the people around you. Talk with family and friends.
. you might begin to feel very angry – angry at yourself.
After your anger has burned itself out. you might start bargaining with yourself or your organization in the hope that your job loss is somehow reversible. To cope with denial. or even a counselor. then you're in Stage One. this is likely to be more practical. and even unjust or wrong things do happen.44
If you're thinking things like "I can't believe I've lost my job" or you think that this is all a silly administrative mistake that can be fixed. surely you deserve better than this? You might become angry at family and friends as well.
Once you're past the initial shock of losing your job. but spend your day in a library or coffee shop with a newspaper. use anger management techniques. your company.
You just have to be willing to find it! Start doing something productive.
. you might go back to your boss and offer to work for less money. another one opens somewhere. but consider that something better might be out there waiting for you. and that's an important step because it shows your finally coming to terms with what happened. forgive yourself. Remember. and move on. but is something that can be painful and lingering if left untreated. Bargaining is almost always futile. learn from the experience. you might slip into a state of depression. This is also a great time to volunteer for an organization that you care about.45 For instance. You might offer to work part-time. be aware of what you're doing." Once you realize that your anger and bargaining tactics aren't working to get your job back. Or. if it was your fault.
As the old cliché says. or train any new hires that come through the door. as someone else also said. You can call it fate or destiny. Helping others can be very healing. you've got one foot on the ship and one foot on the dock. Depression is the beginning stage of acceptance. Put your energy into moving forward. your job right now is to find another job. Straddling them both will get you nothing but a miserable drop into the ocean. Picture it like trying to board a ship that's setting sail. "It's the hallway in between those doors that's torture.
Warning: If you're experiencing significant or persistent unhappiness at this or any other stage. seek the advice of an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Depression is something that can be dealt with quickly and effectively if detected. So what can you do to cope? Accept that losing your job wasn't your fault. and it could give you a sense of control in your life. or reduced benefits. "Whenever one door closes. You're grieving for your lost job. To cope with this stage." But.
the glass ceiling was a concept applied to women and some minorities. Assess your work skills and also how you're doing at looking for another job. Traditionally. you've learned from it. or go through all five: everyone is different. is there a limit for "people like you" in your organization? If so.46
You've finally realized the truth: the layoff wasn't your fault. If you feel like you're stuck in one particular stage and can't move past it. despite your best effort. or if it was your fault. Give yourself time to work through each stage.yet. for them to reach
." This is the point at which you can clearly see the next level of promotion . bargaining. and you're stronger because of it. if not impossible. Talk about your emotions. anger. an invisible barrier seems to stop you from proceeding. depression and acceptance. and keep moving forward. Many experts agree that people go through five stages of loss or grief.
There's no set time limit for any of these stages. similar to what we experience at the death of a loved one: denial. It was very hard. Again. You're a talented. exciting person with a lot to offer in your next job. then seek help so you can move forward. And the best news? You've faced the difficulties of losing a job. you've hit what's known as the "glass ceiling.
Losing a job can be emotionally upsetting and overwhelming. incredible. Tip: Now that you no longer have a boss to manage your performance. give yourself a performance appraisal at regular intervals.
Breaking the Glass Ceiling Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools
Do you feel that you've gone as far as you can with your current employer? Despite knowing that you have much more potential. you might skip some stages. do something productive.
. want to break through that glass. Companies that value innovation and strive to be leaders will probably promote individuals who are outgoing. Are you too much the champion of change? Do you have difficulty communicating your ideas? Are you quieter and less outgoing than the people who get promotions? Whatever the reason.47
upper management positions. if you work for a conservative company (such as a publicly owned utility) chances are that top management are analytical thinkers. Have you been pushed up against a glass ceiling? This can happen for many different reasons. These skills are often tied closely to the organization's culture and vision. This is the first step toward discovering how to position yourself for a top leadership role. No matter how qualified or experienced. or you can smash the glass with purpose and determination. you have a choice. with a reputation for avoiding risk and making careful decisions. here are some steps to take. indeed. Ask yourself these questions:
• • •
What are the values of your organization? What behaviors does your company value and reward? What type of person is promoted?
Understand what sets your company and its leaders apart. You can accept your situation and be happy with looking up and not being able to touch what you see. risk takers. If you do. And it's not always limited to gender or race.
Identify the Key Competencies within Your Organization
Key competencies are the common skills and attributes of the people in your company's upper levels. Today. the glass ceiling is still very real. there are many more women and minorities in powerful positions. and not afraid to "tell it like it is. they simply were not given opportunities to further advance their careers." However. However.
you've succeeded! See Personal Goal Setting for more ideas on how to define motivating goals. Two universal competencies for top management are effective leadership and effective communication.
Read everything you can about leadership styles. then monitor and measure your performance. Be proactive and go after what you want. because it probably won't be handed to you. Work together with your boss to set goals and objectives. and learn to use as many of these tools as possible. skills.
Set Objectives to Align Your Competencies with Top Management
Once you know your target.48
To further clarify these ideas. set a goal to consistently demonstrate assertive and clear communication. Communication skills will help you. Start with the introduction to communication skills. If you achieve that goal.
Build Your Network
You should also build relationships with other people in your organization.
Remember to concentrate on areas of your performance that you can improve. Don't set a goal to achieve a certain position by a certain time. read Core Competence Analysis and Deal and Kennedy's Cultural Model. You may also want to consider taking the Mind Tools How to Lead course. and attributes. You're responsible for determining your own career direction. regardless of the level you want to reach in your career. Mind Tools has an excellent collection of articles on Leadership Skills. Each of these is complex. Do the following:
• • •
Let your boss know that you want to work toward a higher-level position. Ask your boss what skill areas you need to develop. This can be discouraging if it doesn't happen. You never know who may be in a position to help you or
. set goals to get there. no matter what job title you have. For example.
Get involved with cross-functional teams. you can help your career by understanding and using the political networks in your company. biases and stereotypes.
Find a Mentor
Having a mentor is a powerful way to break through the glass ceiling. Is upper management reluctant to work with certain types of individuals? Do they exclude certain people from important communications? A mentor can help you learn how to get connected to the information and people who can help you. The barriers that you face have likely been there for a long time. However. A mentor can also be a great source of ideas for your professional development and growth.
Read more about Professional Networking. Use the climate in your organization to your advantage. you may have to look elsewhere for opportunities. While "politicking" is often seen as negative. It's important to network in all areas and levels of your company. Many people tend to think it's best to make friends at the top. Ask yourself these questions:
• • •
Is there someone in upper management you can approach to help you? Will your boss be able to provide mentoring support? Are there people with strong political power who can offer you assistance?
Read Finding a Mentor for details on what to look for in a mentor
. Expand your professional network outside of your organization.49
provide you with valuable information. you'll need the support of colleagues at other levels as well. and old ideas are often long established at the top of many organizations. If you can't break the glass ceiling in your company. Past practices. Try these tips:
• • •
Reach out to new people on a regular basis. to be effective and actually make it to the top.
you need to build a reputation as the kind of person who fits the description of top management. Visibility is very important. It's unfortunate for both you and your organization when situations like this occur. Mind Tools' article on Avoiding Discrimination shows you how to protect yourself if you face this regrettable situation.
Build Your Reputation
Ultimately. That means proactively managing every
. and develop plans to change them. leadership abilities. You want people to see your competence. Develop your skills and network with people so that your name becomes associated with top management potential. Don't just accept frustration and failure. you need to champion and market yourself. Know that you're doing everything right. Remember. Share ideas with peers as well as people in higher positions.
To get ahead and reach the leadership level you want. watch for discriminatory behavior. while you can see up. and arm yourself with a good understanding of your rights regarding official company policies and local laws. see What's Your Reputation?
Know Your Rights
and ideas on how to find one. those at the top can see down. Identify places where your reputation is not what you want it to be. and any other competencies that are typical of people at the top. Sometimes biases and stereotyping can cross the line into discrimination. Make sure that what they see is you! Follow these guidelines:
• • • •
Seek high-profile projects. communication skills. technical knowledge. the way to get ahead is to get noticed.
For more tips on building the right kind of reputation. To do this. Speak up and contribute in meetings.
now is the time to make one! Does your boss. and potentially change the direction of your
. know what your goals are? Unless people know what you want. hopefully. We can't all be exactly the type of upper management person our company wants. Do you feel alone and unsupported in your career goals? If so. who can help you change that? We all need to make our own success.
Getting a New Boss Starting an important new relationship in a positive way
You may not have asked for it. your old boss is leaving. they may keep you in the same position and assume you're happy there. a mentor. not weakness. The ceiling won't be removed unless you do something about it. like it or not. and. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. If you can't seem to break through a glass ceiling. and a new boss is arriving to take his or her place. but most people don't succeed all on their own. you might have to work harder than others. You probably didn't plan for it. Ask for support and assistance . and monitor your progress. and you may find new zones of opportunity. or anyone in your organization. Apply This to Your Life If you're frustrated with your career advancement. What areas for skill development have been pointed out to you in the past? Are you making improvements? Are you facing a glass ceiling? Recognizing that the ceiling exists is the first step. a strong network. what's going to happen now? Does this mean that you'll also have to change your job? Or is this a good opportunity to make a great first impression. Arm yourself with a development plan as well as the help of your boss. So. Apply some of the ideas in this article.this is a sign of strength. Yet. consider the following:
Do you have a career plan in place? If you don't. You can then build and showcase the skills that will help you climb the corporate ladder. What we can do is develop the skills that the company values.51
step of your career.
you'll discover what's usually important for new bosses. However. He or she may have been promoted from within the team or from elsewhere in the organization. so expect to change the way you work.52
career? Many people in this situation limit their thinking to what has changed about themselves – which. Your new boss thinks he or she knows what you do. and you'll learn how to make a positive and appreciated contribution that's good for both of you. your new boss may be the ‘new hire'. as well as which problems to avoid. In many ways. and expect to experience a three-month adjustment period. but doesn't. it's similar to when you first started your current job – you have to work to make a positive impression. Your new boss understands that he or she doesn't really know the work you do. This person needs your help. and prove yourself. But you also need to know how and when to act. In this article. Who's Really the "New Hire"?
In some cases. and even a different management style. and you have to be supportive. This can lead to three possibilities:
1. 2. Whether or not you worked well with your old boss is no longer relevant. a new boss will likely have different opinions. However. during which you'll both "settle in" and get used to each other.
So. You need to accept that this really is a new opportunity to make a first impression (this is one of the rare times that this possibility exists). you are also new to your new boss. It's up to you to build a relationship with your new boss. The situation has now changed: if you simply keep doing what you did before. is nothing. You don't want to overwhelm – or underwhelm – your new boss. Or your new boss may have had a similar position in another company – or even an entirely different role. but doesn't know
. Things will likely be different. There's a proper balance that you can find. different policies.
Your New Boss's Background
Your new boss may come from one of many different backgrounds. so the boss may look to you for help. you're not facing reality. in this case.
or may not be able to offer advice on specific topics (this can be particularly true if you have a technical role). Your new boss knows what you do. (If you were competing for the job. you're setting yourself up for conflict and failure. this can be a significant opportunity for you to accept a new level of autonomy and responsibility – and get great career experience!
Making the Relationship Work
An important step in managing the relationship with your new boss is to accept it. so you can focus on the other aspects of building your working relationship. perhaps. and don't be disrespectful towards your new boss.53 it. don't sulk about not getting the job yourself. If you do either of these. considerately. and you have to work with this new person. "Sucking up" may bother your boss as well as your colleagues. Remember that your boss is also a "gatekeeper. your relationship needs to be a top priority for you. However. Your goal is to educate tactfully. 3." with the ability to allow you – or deny you – access to a number of things that can impact your job satisfaction. Our article Managing Your Boss discusses these situations as well as how to make adjustments for a boss's weaknesses that you may discover as the 90-day settling-in period continues. you must face the reality that your company made a choice. but your boss has several relationships to manage with all team members. He or she may not have detailed knowledge that you can use to check your work. and particularly if your new boss is an ex-colleague. but don't appear too eager. Perhaps your old boss knew exactly what to do in all situations. yourself). this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll interact with this person the same way you did with your old boss.
Even if your new boss knows what you do. and sufficiently. Whatever you might have thought about other candidates for the job (including. and then assess how your new boss reacts to your help: this will help you strengthen the relationship. Tip: Be helpful.) Some parts of this situation don't apply equally. But your new boss may have a more general management background. On the other hand. You have one relationship to manage with your boss. Offer your help. because she did your job before you got there.
This is what your new boss is likely to be thinking .. this will help you relate to his or her expectations. individual preferences. These conversations can range from informal chats at the coffee machine to formal meetings in your boss's office or elsewhere. but at least you'll know.and it may therefore show you how you can make a positive impact:
Building competence and learning the new role: This includes dealing with information overload and creating a learning plan. does your new boss think that the objective is to maintain a currently strong position or turn around declining performance? You may not agree on every point. but we've summarized some of the information here. Creating quick wins to establish credibility: Credibility also means focusing on results that are important to the new boss's boss. Our workbook Congratulations on Your New Role. Learning about and understanding the team members: This means not only getting to know them. while making sure that what's asked of you is still realistic. but also figuring out who the key players are.
Necessary Conversations with Your New Boss
Here's a checklist of what you and your new boss should understand and agree upon as you get to know each other.. Learn what your boss's expectations are: What does your new boss want from you now and in the longer-term future? How will your success be measured? If you understand what will help your new boss succeed (see above). and linking tangible results with longer-term business goals. Use common sense.54
Helping Your New Boss Succeed
Your new boss will likely target several goals during the early weeks and months. Figure out your boss's working style: What you do
. For example. Now What? covers this in detail. and mutual availability as your guiding factors.
Determine how your boss views the current situation: Find out how your new boss sees things. because this will help confirm to upper management that they made the right hiring choice.